Inquiring about pace maker surgery

Hi, I am 17 years old and after having an ablation that didnt work I am informed i would need to get a pacemaker fitted which I am extreemly scared about.I was wondering if anyone could tell me about how it feels after the surgery and if you can feel the pacemaker inside the body? Any advice would be good. Thanks in advance 


12 Comments

Inquiry about pacemaker surgery

by Rosenberger5 - 2021-04-12 18:11:45

I am four days post-op. I feel it every time it goes off, but that is not common. It depends on your sensitivity. I talked to another friend of mine who felt hers for about a month, then it went away, so I am confident mine will as well. It is still all scary to me, but the consequences of not having it is not an option. May God bless you. 

inquiry about pacemaker

by athena123 - 2021-04-12 19:39:58

Hi, ive had mine for 2 years now. After the procedure you might still be a little sore and yes you might feel it as well. Some people are more sensitive then others. Nothing to worry about. completely normal, Whatever you do try not to raise your arms over your head for at least a month for the leads to be completely settled in. Afterwards, enjoy being a 17 year old because as time goes on you'll forget you even have one. Best wishes to you. 

You' will be fine

by TLee - 2021-04-12 21:12:27

You will most likely read all sorts of posts here, some saying the procedure is next to nothing, some saying it was just awful, so if you read them all you will be alternatley greatly reassured & scared stiff. I may be one of those who had a sort of middle-of-the-road experience, which is probably most common. 

Was there pain? A bit. I was awake during the procedure, and there were some unpleasant,, sort of pulling sensations that I didn't really like but could grit my teeth & get through. Afterward, I had a pretty sore & achey incision, but acetaminophen was enough to keep it under control. This was almost completely gone after 3 or 4 days.

Did I jump up feeling fantastic right away? Nope. In fact I felt pretty rough for a month or so, as my arrythmia (a-fib) was put into overdrive by even the fairly minor trauma of the procedure. This forum helped by answering my questions & assuring me that things would get better. Now, 3 months on, the pacemaker has allowed new avenues of treatment for the a-fib, and things are looking good.

Can I feel the pacemaker? If you mean can I feel the actual piece of equipment, yes. Since the swelling has gone & things have settled in, I can feel a small, hard lump under the skin & some ridges that I assume are the leads. Pretty cool, if you ask me! If you mean do I feel the function of the pacemaker, no. I have not noticed anything that I think might be the electrical pulses, and that's fine with me.

So, for me, the experience started out not terrific (but not unbearable either), and has become something that I am pretty happy with. Don't be too nervous about the procedure, and afterward don't get discouraged--everything will be just fine. Use this forum! I still ask dumb questions that these folks have no doubt heard a million time already, but they are always very nice & quite informative. Best wishes, good luck, and DON'T WORRY! 

hi!

by Tracey_E - 2021-04-12 21:38:33

So glad you found us! I knew when I was your age that I would eventually need paced, got my first at 27. I'm 54 now, on my 5th device, lead a full and active life. The pacer doesn't keep me from doing anything that I want to do. I have two daughters a few years older than you. One of them loves the outdoors. We skied together last time I saw her, spent a week hiking Yellowstone the time before that. My other daughter and I run together. Covid has messed with our last few races but we are already signed up for two halfs later this year. No one looks at me and sees a heart patient. 

We have some teen members, but none who post regularly. Hopefully you'll hear from some of them. 

First thing to know, most of us build it up in our heads to be WAY worse than it is. The reality is the surgery is pretty easy and once we recover, it's very easy to forget it's there. I was shocked how much better I felt after. I procrastinated getting it for a long time because I thought it was going to be so awful, the end of life as I knew it. Well, it was the end of life as I knew it. It was the end of being tired all the time and not having the stamina to keep up with my friends and constant dizzy spells. I never knew what normal felt like before, and I loved it. I truly have never looked back, have never regretted it. My only regret was waiting, because no one told me one simple fact- it was going to make me feel better. 

Something else to know, be careful doing too much research and reading too much here. It's great to be informed, but what you'll read here is a bit skewed. You'll start to think every other person comes out of it feeling bad and has complications. The reality is complications happen less than 1% of the time. That small percentage sometimes comes here for answers. For every one person here asking questions, there are hundreds out there with no reason to search out a support forum. 

Talk to your surgeon about placement. When I got my first one, I was very underweight and young. My cardiologist had a plastic surgeon assist so they could make it as inconspicuous as possible. This was 1994 and at the time, that was unheard of. Now it's pretty common to bury the pacer a bit, particularly on younger patients. But, not all surgeons do it so be sure to ask!   I can feel the edges if I poke around, but I don't really know it's there and no one can tell I have it, even if I wear something strapless. 

Last thought, do you know if you ended up with heart block or sinus issues from the ablation? Heart block is a very easy fix, literally any pacer will do. With heart block, the atria beats normally but the signal doesn't make it to the ventricles, so the pacer just has to play follow the leader, making sure the ventricles beat when the atria does. Sinus issues are a little trickier because the pacer has to predict what the heart should be doing. The feature in the pacer that does this is called rate response and there are some big differences between pacers and how they handle this. Let your doctor know what sports and activities you like, because it can make a difference which model they give you. 

If you have questions or just want to chat, please feel free to message me any time! Same goes for your parents, I'm sure they are worried. Sometimes it helps just to hear from someone who has lived it and come out healthy and strong. I'm glad you found us. Know you are not alone. 

I was nervous, too!

by juststeph - 2021-04-12 21:49:15

Hey ANYA123, I was nervous, too! I just had my pacemaker surgery 10 days ago. I'm 28. It was a whirlwind 4 days before I had the surgery, including an intense phone call at work from a cardiologist out of town. Through a series of unfortuante events I got the news very last minute and abruptly that I would be getting a pacemaker. That news in the midst of all the flurry was definitely a shock! But I can honestly say that was the worst part of my entire experience.

Like TLee said, the surgery was uncomfortable, but not at all painful. They drug you, but you are still awake. This made me nervous going in, but as soon as they drugged me I was nonchalant and totally chill. I was pretty chatty at first, so they ended up giving me more before they started the procedure. I'd say if you still feel nervous after they administer the drugs, tell them! My nurses all knew I was nervous going in, and checked in on me multiple times through the process. The whole thing only took 15 minutes, but it felt like way less at the time.

Afterwards, I was sore for the first 3-5 days, mainly because they manipulate your left chest muscle when they place the battery pack. Its as though I over did it on a one handed push up (something I've never been able to even attempt! haha). Now, only 10 days out, I only have some aches every now and then and just get tired pretty easy. Other than that, I'm good to go!

I can feel the battery pack when I touch the site with my other hand. There is a very suble bump below my skin that only I will be able to notice my scar heals! I can also sense it inside me when I cross my left arm over my body and "crunch" my chest. Other than that, I can't feel it doing its thing at all! And I can't see or feel my leads at all. I'm an avid paddler and have plans to get out on the lake as soon as I get the go ahead to lift my arm above my shoulder! I have no doubt that my pacemaker will still allow me to live a kick-ass life until i'm well into my 90s :)

Pacemaker at 17

by barnet38 - 2021-04-12 22:33:07

Hi!  I also received my first pacemaker when I was 17.  I have congenital complete heart block and always knew that I would need a pacemaker.  I'm 39 now and just got #4 in December.  My experience has been similar to Tracey's.  I lead a very active life, work full time, travel, exercise regularly, hike, ski, and do pretty much anything else I want to do.  I hope your procedure goes well!

Your age is your best friend

by seenu302 - 2021-04-12 23:35:48

Though its unfortunate that you have to get a PM this early, once you get past the intial surgery/healing stuff, you will do great. Dont think about too much.Kids your age will heal up real fast and get back to normal stuff.Good luck with your procedure.The replacements will be even smoother.

Nothing to worry

by Cheldhaye Chill Day - 2021-04-13 04:31:54

I got mine when I am 16 years old. So don't be too nervous. However, It's normal to get scared especially for a 1st timer like you. I also am was scared before my operation. I am about to have my 4th operation in 2 years time and it's okay. Life will become normal after the operation. I did workouts, outings, gardening, studies my doctoral course after work. It's totally good to have the operation. Just ask queries to your doctor if you have something that is bothering you because they are more knowledgeable about  your situation. From my experienced, I did not regret having been operated. 😊

Good luck in your upcoming operation.

I understand

by robinclaire93 - 2021-04-14 00:01:10

I was 23 when I got my pacemaker and I was absolutely terrified. I've had it for 4 years. I understand completely how you feel now because that's how I felt. I went in to have the procedure early in the morning, when I got taken back to a room they put an IV in each arm. They wheeled me back to an operating room and I told one of the nurses that I was scared. She talked to me and calmed me down and I didnt remember falling asleep. When I woke up, it was already done and they were wheeling me into recovery. I felt a little bit of pain after a little while and they gave me some more pain meds and I felt better. I went home later that afternoon. I was pretty sleepy for the next couple of days. I stayed in bed for about 3-4 weeks except for getting up to go to the bathroom and after a couple weeks I felt better enough to sit on the couch for a little while. After that first month, I slowly started getting back to normal. It took a few months to feel fully back to normal but I could tell from the first month how different I felt. I am still thankful for getting my pacemaker. I feel so much better than I did before I got it. I can live a normal life, I don't feel tired and dizzy all day long. You will feel sooo much better after you get it. The procedure was so easy and went quickly. Try not to worry too much about it. If you need someone to talk to more, feel free to send a message to my inbox. 

Continued from my first comment

by robinclaire93 - 2021-04-14 00:02:55

Also, my doctor put my pacemaker in under my left arm, pretty much in my armpit so I wouldn't have a scar across my chest. I can feel the pacemaker if I rub my hand across that area, but I tend to forget it's even there. And I don't feel it working. 

Recovery after PM implant

by ar_vin - 2021-04-14 04:13:51

@robinclaire93 wrote above:

"I was pretty sleepy for the next couple of days. I stayed in bed for about 3-4 weeks except for getting up to go to the bathroom and after a couple weeks I felt better enough to sit on the couch for a little while. After that first month, I slowly started getting back to normal"

It's not clear to me what the above poster's underlying condition was and the reason for her PM implant.

I would like to offer my own experience (which seems to be closer to the average reported recovery time).

My diagnosis was "sick sinus syndrome" and I was 60 years old at implant.

I was kept overnight in the hospital after the procedure and discharged the following morning after an X-ray and device check. Once I got home I was pretty tired not having slept well overnight.

The following day I walked about a mile outdoors. I kept going out for longer 2-3 mile walks twice a day the next 3 days. After that I felt more or less fine except for the soreness in the shoulder area near the implant site.

I can understand some might take a few days to feel better but 3-4 weeks in bed seems unusual - I understand there might have been some undisclosed medical issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s worth it

by Spike98 - 2021-04-26 19:20:02

I would second what @ ar_vin said. I can't speak for @robinclaire93 as I don't know her whole story, but I will say that such an experience is atypical, as most people recover fairly quickly. I just turned 23 and got my PM a few weeks ago for sick sinus syndrome. I stayed one night in the hospital and was given a sling to wear for the first 12-24 hours. The day I got out of the hospital I was able to go to church, and the next day I walked about a mile and a half. It's been 3 weeks now and I've already gotten to do construction work on a missions trip (just couldn't lift my L arm above the shoulder or carry anything heavy) and I've started going on runs again. I'm an RN and in a few days I'll be returning to work on my unit. If you need a pacemaker, don't let the idea of a lengthy/painful recovery scare you. The recovery wasn't very painful at all, and in the long run, a pacemaker can help you return to an active lifestyle. Just my 2 cents. Good luck!

 

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